David Lough finished with four hits, two runs scored and a run driven in while Brett Hayes slugged a pair of home runs in support of Ryan Verdugo as Omaha did all of its’ scoring in odd-numbered innings in a convincing 7-1 victory over Nashville Tuesday afternoon to finish off a four-game set at Greer Stadium. The Storm Chasers grabbed the last three games to improve to 12-7 and maintain their hold on the top spot in the American Conference Northern Division. Omaha has won four consecutive series for the first time since taking five sets in a row from July 30-August 19, 2005.
The Storm Chasers got started right away, as Lough opened the game with a single, moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a double by Johnny Giavotella, who has knocked in 10 of his 11 runs against the Sounds. Jeff Bianchi then committed a throwing error on Xavier Nady’s ground ball that allowed Giavotella to score to make it 2-0, as the visitors tallied in the first inning for the first time in seven games. Omaha added a pair of runs in the third on a bases loaded walk to Max Ramirez and an RBI single by Anthony Seratelli, who has hit safely in five of his last six starts.
Nashville starter Frankie De La Cruz took the loss after he was charged with those four runs on six hits and three walks and was followed by Donovan Hand, who surrendered a pair of two-out runs in the fifth on a Hayes solo shot and a run-scoring single by Lough, who had his fifth straight multi-hit game and finished the series going 12-for-19 with eight runs scored and five knocked in. Hayes started the seventh with a long ball off Travis Webb, marking his second two-homer game against the Sounds in nine days.
Verdugo, working on three days of rest to get back into his regular rotation, spun seven scoreless innings during which he allowed five hits and did not permit a runner to advance past second base. The southpaw struck out three, did not walk a batter and induced three double play grounders to earn his first win of the season. The Storm Chasers starting pitchers in the last three games have combined to allow two runs on 15 hits over 19 2/3 innings. Francisley Bueno tossed a scoreless eighth in front of Michael Mariot, who gave up a solo home run to Hunter Morris in the ninth that spoiled the Storm Chasers shutout bid.